Friday, 29 June 2012

The last week June 25-29

The last week

I actually have a heartache today I think. Today Melissa and I walked around to say goodbye to everything and we both actually felt sick, and my heart hurt a little.

Monday was a good class day. We had our last class in New College classroom. Then I went to buy my book for my last paper this week. Somehow I have put it off doing it until today, but thats the beauty of procrastination here. It was actually warm and pretty this week so I wanted to be outside alot. After class Melissa, Will, Maddy and I got sandwiches from the covered market. I am indecisive in my thoughts on sandwiches here. The baguettes and paninis they have everywhere are like so delicious, but nothing is made without mayo. I could do without all the mayo. They even put it on salad and no salad dressing. Another concept of English people I don't understand. We walked over to Christ Church meadows to have lunch. Everyone was out there because it was actually sort of sunny, so we just laid on the grass and ate our lunches. After that most of my friends had to go to their tutorials or were writing so I just went home and tried to read. I think I actually worked out for the first time in awhile. After that I layed in bed and napped. Great nap because the sun was shining perfectly on me right through my window, and I miss the sun so much. Like Taylor said, "our Americaness comes out when the sun comes out" We like flock outdoors and we're literally happier people when the sun comes out. Well I just napped and then I think I watched the Bachelorette. Gotta keep up with all the craziness from home of course. Guilty pleasure. It was a good just rest type day. It is summer after all so I shouldn't feel so guilty doing nothing.

Tuesday I woke up and it looked almost sunny. Taylor came over, and we decided to go read our books on the Trinity lawn. Well of course it started raining on the way there. Tricky weather. But fortunately they put up a tent just for us! haha, not really it was already up. But we parked inside the tent and read our books while it rained. All the tourist coming through the lawns probably thought we were crazy, because Taylor is now obsessed with the music from Phantom of the Opera. It was a very nice casual afternoon. Then we went to the covered market again for a little lunch. It was the yummiest sandwich. Turkey and Brie. After that, came home and had to get ready to go to Trivia night!

We had decided that we needed to play Trivia at the Eagle and Child pub. That's the pub of course where the Inklings met, other than C.S. Lewis's rooms at Magdalen college which I visited also. But the Inklings is Tolkien and Lewis' group that met once a week. Its so cool the relationship that they had, and being here and learning how they influenced each other and their writings. I recommend everyone go read something by Lewis or Tolkien right now! Anyways, we show up to the Eagle and child and get a table in the back. Its me Taylor, Melissa, Will, and Alex who is our trick up our sleeve. He's big on trivial knowledge that no one else would know. So we got our fish and chips and had some cider, yummy. Then trivia started. It was like all locals, and some teenagers who cheated the whole time and us loud Americans. The categories were fun too, there was Connections first. All the things were connected by being hats, but somehow we came up with the answer that everything was connected by "america." Still not sure how top, panama, ascot, baseball and others have anything to do with america. Seems so obvious now. But we did really well on the "birds" category hahaha. Emotional songs was another, which like I've said English people are way behind, so of course we got all the new songs, and they played like Johnny Cash as an old song. Totally unfair for the English people, we had that! Then the history round was like all American stuff. Where are the 49's located, or who shot Martin Luther King Jr. etc etc. Owned that round too. Anyways we came in 2nd after the usual winners. I'm still proud of us! And it was a really fun night.

Wednesday we had class again, but this time we had it outside at New college. There are fortresses built around all the colleges from when the University was first getting started and the townspeople didn't want the students to take over their city. There would be actual battles, and so the colleges were made like fortresses. Well, I sat in the fortress wall, in a slot that was used to shoot arrows out of. That was kinda cool I guess. Last class of the term! Finally, I mean other than Dr. Snyder making us write a paper due the last day that we're here, and then a research paper due in two weeks. After class we all went to Nando's for lunch. Then Melissa and I went shopping for gifts. Headed to the tea store, and may have bought too many t-shirts. We got like caught up in the poster shop looking for pretty prints. So much shopping. We also made it over to the Alice in Wonderland shop. It's the original shop that used to be Alice's sweetshop when Lewis Carroll had rooms in Christ Church College right across the street. I guess thats where he got the name, I imagine him just staring out the window and being like, "now ill write a story about Alice." Now its a gift shop with tons of Alice stuff. Very cute.

Then I went home and had the best run through the city and the meadows. Port meadow really is so pretty, and I just ran back there and got lost for awhile. Then I ran back through town, and its just so funny how people look at you when you're running in shorts here. When I came home, me and Melissa cooked dinner. Well I cooked some pasta and shrimp, and we had asparagus. I'm very proud of my culinary skills this trip. Like I've actually cooked well. Weird, I really could survive if I had to. Still my point is that I have a kitchen staff cooking me 3 meals a day so I will pretend to be incompetent for another year.  After that... while I should've been working on my paper yet again instead me and Melissa did our nails and watched "Drive me Crazy." Then Alex and Taylor came over and bugged me for awhile.

Thursday morning I woke up and read for my paper, then we got to go tour Magdalen college. That was where C.S. Lewis was a don and had his rooms. It was one of the prettiest colleges to me. There's really pretty cloisters in the middle. Then they own a ton of land, so theres a meadow and forest. The college itself actually owns deer. They're all just hanging out in Deer Park. We went back through Addison's Walk down by the river, through the forest. That's where Tolkien and Lewis argued about Christianity. Tolkien was yelling at Lewis that he was wrong. He says thats where he had his intellectual conversion. The next day he says he was driving to the zoo, and when he left he wasn't a Christian, but when he got there he was. Really a special place. After we had toured all that the girls went to Granola again, and got sandwiches to go home. Worked a little, and napped. Then it was time for 5 pound pizza night! We have become locals, we know all the hot spots. 3rd week of thursday pizza night actually. After that we went out, tried to go to our favorite club The Bridge but it closed! So sad. So we had to go to another place. We started out in one bar, and Alex and Rupert joined us.

Now Rupert is a story. He is Laird Rupert Stone. He is about 27ish and he works for the program that I'm in. I'm not sure why. His father was Margaret Thatcher's speech writer. So obviously he's upper class. So he went to school at Eton, the most famous school in England. While he went there he ate lunch and dinner with Prince William and Harry every single day. After that he went to Oxford where he studied the Classics. Which means he read them all in Latin. I was like, what do you do with that? He said, "Absolutely nothing" So I just talked to him forever cause his life is so interesting. He told me all about William and Harry. He said Harry is terrible, just out chasing girls and partying. But he said that he really really likes William. He's actually a really nice guy, and not smart, but nice. I was like oh ok sure, you just hang out with Prince's at school, that's totally normal. Well he's sick of England and says he's off to America to work in D.C. Interesting man!

We all went to Lava again, this terrible club. And on top of that it was "International" night. Now, I understand that I am technically international, but I like to think of us as more like stepchildren of the English. So in that sense I just like to think im not a tourist I'm a visitor, which I really am not like a tourist here. This international night was VERY international. We talked to people from Switzerland, Germany, Nigeria, Sudan, Spain and probably other places. It was cool though, just fun. I finally found some British boys, and I was like "ummm, why the heck are you here?" Good night.

Today we had to work on papers, and most of the group has actually left to go home. So sad!!! But Melissa and I shopped again, I got sucked into Topshop again. There were sales everywhere! I can't be blamed. It's like oh yay all the college students are gone! Lets have a big sale! We said goodbye to all our favorite places, went and turned our keys into Trinity. Now im just a tourist again. Then we went to Granola for our final afternoon tea. The owner became my friend, and he was like sad that I wouldn't be back. I told him that I just loved Granola and I would come back one day.

Since then, I've been sitting at this computer trying to write this paper. At this point I've only got 4 more hours to write. Luckily for all of yall, this is taking presedent over writing. I keep getting told to blog! So here it is. Finally it's over.

Christ Church garden

Alice in Wonderland

Pints at the Eagle and child

Class in the fortress wall

Cloister of Magdalen College

Addison's Walk at Magdalen

Francipio (made up name) at our kebab stand

View of Trinity on Maroon Friday!
Tomorrow will be the day of tears.... and 12 hours of flying.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


June 22-23 London!

Melissa, Taylor and I decided that we needed to see a play in London, and we have been waiting to go for awhile. So our friend Kramer from Michigan had to be in London at the embassy, so we had a free place to stay on Friday night. We got bus tickets and left Oxford on the tube at 5 on Friday and made it to Victoria Station around 6:30 on Friday. We found the hotel, which was really nice, but super tiny. In these tiny London hotels its kind of hard to sneak through consierge to the rooms without getting noticed, but we just ran away. Found our friend Kramer and we had to find our other friend Will. So we walked to find Will, and then took the underground over to Picadilly Circus. We had told some girls that we knew that we would meet them at a pub over there. When we got there, the soccer game was on and it was insanely packed. We were all hungry so we tried to go somewhere for dinner. We all wanted cheap since were traveling on a budget. We found a place for like 2 courses for 7 p which is good for London. Except you get what you pay for. It was this tiny tiny little restaurant and the food was just ok, and they messed up like all our orders. Whatever, food is not my priority here. This was over in China town, but unfortunately we didn't get to go in any of the Chinese places. I was not about to eat at a Chinese buffet in London!

After that dinner we tried to go back to the pub, but then we found a club to go in. It was just alright and no one was dancing, so finally we went back to the pub and it was easier to get in. We found the girls that we knew, and went up on the balcony where they had a live band. It was a fun night, and we met all kinds of international people. Some Irish guy wanted to talk to me about politics, that was so funny to me. They love asking Americans about politics over here. After that we went to get food at Mcdonalds since all our dinners had been smaller than small. This Mcdonalds at Picadilly Circus was like a club mcdonalds. They had like loud crazy music going and everyone there was all dressed up from the bars. It was really fun. Then we caught a taxi home.

The next morning we woke up and all got ready. Then me Taylor and Melissa went over to Haymarket to Her Majesty's Theater to try to get tickets for Phantom of the Opera. I think at this point Taylor probably wanted to kill me and Melissa because we were so giddy, but he was a good sport. After that we caught some lunch at Pret, and then went to the Tower of London.

The tower was a little different than I was expecting but still so cool. Its actually like a castle fortress thing, and its not just one big tower like we thought. Theres 13 towers in all, with a church and castle and mint. We went on the guided tour with a "beefeater" which is one of her Majesty's royal soldiers. They are specifically picked for duty at the Tower and they are allowed to live there with their families. Our guy was really funny, and a really entertaining tour guide. The tower dates back all the way to the Norman conquest in 1066. William the Conquerer started building it right when he became king so it's almost 1000 years old in some parts. So many people were imprisoned there and then taken to Tower hill for their public beheading. It was a little eerie being there. We toured all around and got to go in the chapel where they took all the headless bodies. It was really gross because they told us all the stories of how after people were beheaded their heads were put on spikes and on the London Bridge. We all had to yell "God save the King" like we were part of the mob. Then we got to see the Crown Jewels. Of course you cant take pictures of the good stuff. I just can't really imagine owning those things, or having something that ornate. Looking at all the diamonds on the tons of crowns they have, it's like really? REALLY? The largest cut diamond in the world is in the scepter that they coronated Elizabeth with. Again, just want to be her.

After the Tower we found our way back on the underground, and then walked over to the British Museum. It was a cool museum, but after the Louvre I feel like I have seen everything I need to see. The cool thing is since the British Empire was the largest Empire like ever, they have stolen plenty of treasures from the whole world. They have the most mummies at that museum. They also stole all the carvings off the parthenon, and the statues there. So that was different than the Louvre.

After that we walked back to the theater district to eat dinner. We ate at a pub that was really cheap. Again, food is not our first priority. That was a good dinner, I love pub culture its different than America. Everyone is there, young and old. You go to the bar to order food so its much faster than a restaurant. We ate there then we went to the M&M store across the store. Probably the most touristy place you can go, but Taylor wanted M&ms to eat during the play. Melissa and I got gelatto, yummy!

We walked over to the theater. Since we got our tickets that morning we were split up. But I did not mind at all. I was sitting 3rd row smack in the center. The theater is also really quite small, I guess since theres so many theaters there. It was gorgeous! Phantom of the Opera probably made my trip, I mean I have seen it before. This time was just perfect, it was so cool being third row. The actors were really phenomenal. Maybe a little young, but I was not disappointed at all. I could've watched it another 3 times.

We caught the bus, or more like ran to the bus at Victoria station since we thought we were about to miss it. Caught the bus and made the 2 hour ride home. I am so so so glad that this trip we did not get lost once, we didn't even get turned around. We knew where we were the whole time. I dont know if it's im more comfortable traveling now, or I can accomplish anything after Paris. I realize it was because they speak a different language there, but I think London underground really is easier. But it was just such a blessing not to have to stress about being lost. It definitely changed the mood of the trip. After all that, I haven't really slept much the past week so I slept till 1 this Sunday. I needed all 12 hours that I slept.

Today the girls downstairs had a moustache party. It was the cutest idea! We all dressed up fancy and wore our mustaches. We had Pimm's and dessert and listened to Frank Sinatra. Interesting little mix up, since we decorated with the Union Jack flag. It was a really fun party and it was fun to get the group together for an activity before we all leave Saturday....

Kramer who so graciously let us stay with him

The Tower. The clouds make it look so creepy

Traitors gate where thousands have walked off the barge towards their ultimate death.

The chapel inside. During renovations under Queen Victoria they found over 1500 bodies in the walls and under the ground. Only 9 were identified and they are now reburied under the front altar.

British Museum

Phantom 25th year!

Mustache Party time

The political science department at Oxford. Don't be fooled, they're way smarter than me
That's the trip! Hope you all enjoy!

June 20: Stonehenge


So I said that we decided to go to Stonehenge on a whim during the middle of the week? Well that happened, and it was an interesting adventure.

Summer solstice is the big pagan ritual at Stonehenge that celebrates the longest day of the year, and its a worship of the sun. I don't know why we thought it was a good idea. Other than you get to see the sunrise at Stonehenge, and usually you can only see the stones from far away. We got to touch them,and stand in between them. Its the only day of the year they are open. So we decided to go make a trip of it.

Wednesday night we got on a train at 10 p.m. which ended up being actually the wrong train line. It was a cross country Train and we were only allowed on Great Western. I have not yet traveled without something going wrong, and that is unusual for me. But the ticket taker said get off at the next stop or I'll charge you. We got off, but it was ok because it was where we were supposed to get off at Reading. Since we got super cheap tickets we had to switch trains like 3 times. We found the next train to Basingstoke and got on that. Then in Basingstoke the next train to Salisbury was an hour and a half later. Side note- We had to take a train to Salisbury, then a bus to Amesbury, and once there, Stonehenge is like a 2 mile walk from the bus stop. So anyways we like hung out in an empty train platform for an hour then finally got the very last train to Salisbury. Once there, it was about 1:45 in the morning. A couple other people get there that you can tell are going to stonehenge. The last train conductor locks us out of the train station because he wants to go home. Its pouring rain by this point and theres no buses going back and forth anymore. We're standing outside with this group of Italians who have a digeree doo which is this weird instrument that you blow into and it is really like just vibrations. So they have that and tons of weed and lots of piercings. I can tell its going to be a weird night. We finally catch a taxi that will take us, with these other Americans. It ended up being cheaper than the bus to take a taxi and they dropped us off right up close. Well relatively close. We still had to walk a mile through fields and security and drug dogs to get there. This whole time its raining and approximately 3 in the morning. We finally finally get up to the stones.

Its really just a big circle of rocks with tons of hippies standing around and dancing around to drums and digeree doos. It was kinda fun, for awhile. It was the greatest people watching opportunity that I've had in awhile. We met all kinds of people, some Spanish and Italians and British and Americans. We stood there from 3:30 until like 6ish. But the sun was supposed to rise at 4:52. Of course it wasn't sunny at all. The clouds were so thick that it was impossible to see any sun, it just kind of got a little lighter than the night. Watched some druids do their rituals, that was just weird.

We decided to leave, so we walked the two miles through the fields to the Amesbury bus stop. Got on a bus and passed out we were so tired. Since we had cheap tickets for the Salisbury train we couldn't leave till 8: 45. Just like every other person... So we were shoved in with all the smelly people. We went outside and fell asleep on the concrete outside the bus stop like homeless people. Finally they let us on the platform and we made our way back home. I was so disgusting while we saw all the girls going to the horse races in their cute heels and hats. Fascinators, I just love those.

We made it back to Oxford at about 10: 45 thursday morning. I had my tutorial that afternoon, so I didn't go to sleep cause I didn't think I would wake up. I showered and got ready for my 2 hour tutorial with Jure Vidmar. My last one. I had written 2 papers for him that week, and I was worried I was just going to pass out the whole 2 hours that I needed to be smart.

I actually did much better on my last two papers, and he said I improved alot. We talked about the first paper, and then the second one I had to read aloud. Just imagine a band-aid being ripped off very slowly. That's kinda how it felt. The Oxford tradition is that students have to read their papers out loud. It is SO effective at making you a better writer. He handed me my paper, and I had to read it while he had one and was just sitting back in his chair. He stopped me every 5 seconds really. He would ask why I wrote certain things, or if that should be there, was it necesary? Every sentence in my intro he stopped me and was like why did you write that. It was a little bit painful, and i'm so glad I did it! After two hours of just chatting with my professor I should've been like so tired, but I just couldn't stop grinning after I left. It was a really great experience having this tutorial and I think I learned alot.  It definitely will help me in the fall at school, just being prepared for classes and actually working hard. School at home is nothing compared to this, so I have no excuse.

That was a fun two days that I didn't sleep at all. 48 hours without sleep. When I got off my tutor no time to nap, I had to go to Dr. Snyders for dessert night. Dr. Snyder made us all dessert, which was so good. Then we all watched Lord of the Rings, and I had to try so hard not to pass out.

Thats all for Wednesday and Thursday, next blog is London!

Train ride!

Statue of the first man worshipping the sun

Old druid. The arch druid of glastonbury?

 Really crowded stonehenge
I got stuck between the stones!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Study Week

June 20

A list:
1. People here love Gap like its going out of style-- which, I guess technically it is? Like in America no one wears Gap logo tees or sweatshirts, I know this from experience they don't even sell those except for toddlers anymore. But every person walking down the street here has on something Gap. Interesting style here.
2. I've become a local. Local at my kebab stand, and my tea place, and the pub down the street.
3. I've written more papers in a month than the whole past semester.
4. I love afternoon tea.
5.Still never leaving here.

Well its been a good little while since I blogged. It's been study week. Friday and Saturday were rest days. Well Friday was fun, we finally all ate mexican! Finally! I've been missing mexican alot. Anyways we ate at Las Iguanas and then went out to Camera, which is my favorite club. That was the last night for our friends from Michigan, and we had a good time.
Saturday we slept in, and Melissa and I walked to the movie theater to see Snow White and the Huntsman. Then we went with Taylor and Alex to this Lebanese restaurant Al-Salam. They just bring a huge plate of fresh vegetables. Not like cut up, just a whole tomato, cucumber, green pepper, and some olives. That was kinda weird. But they had the best hummus ever. That night we just stayed home and tried to work on our papers.
This week I had 3 papers due and lots and lots of reading. Since Sunday I read half of a law textbook and the Children of Hurin. I'm a little proud of my brain right now.

Sunday was more study day, and Melissa and I finally found The Missing Bean (hahah) coffee shop, which is like the only good coffee in Oxford. Then we took that over to the lawn at Trinity and read our books outside. It was a nice day, and then we went into the library to study a little more. Already getting stir crazy from studying.

Monday morning we had class, and I had a paper due that night. We went to class and then our good friends in Christ Church let us come to lunch with them in the Harry Potter dining hall. It was really fun. We got to walk all around like we belonged, and then we ate there. It's really really pretty, a little bigger than Trinity. I'm still biased though and enjoy Trinity's food more and the smaller college. So we ate and then Khanh took me into the Christ Church library, all the colleges have their own small libraries. Im trying to see as many as possible. I took tons of pictures that day. Then I went home and studied for the rest of the night and finally finished one paper, knowing that Tuesday I had to write two. Thats the worst feeling.

Tuesday we woke up and returned the favor to the Christ Church people and we took them to lunch at Trinity. Spencer was there and had made friends with a student that was sitting there. So we sat down with this boy. Im just baffled. He went to Princeton for undergrad, then came to Oxford for his masters to study the Philosophy of Physics. After this year he is going to Harvard for his Phd. The people you meet in Oxford really are quite extraordinary. They usually are all very well brought up and super smart. Then his friend sat down who was 25 and finishing his Phd in something. Can't remember what he said because I was staring at how cute he was. He was way too cute. Went to college in South Africa and majored in math and chemistry, then hes at Oxford for his doctorate. These people! I was like, well... I go to Mississippi State.
After lunch I finally went to the Bodleian Library to study. This probably doesn't interst other people, but to me it was like the best day ever. Its a really gorgeous library, and it definitely makes you feel smarter when you study in there. I'm that girl that gets to walk past all the silly tourist into the door that says "do not enter."

After studying for awhile, I walked towards home to my favorite little bakery/coffee shop. I had my first afternoon tea. I sat in Granola, which is like super cute and all organic etc etc. Anyways, I sat and read and had tea and homeade organic scones with clotted cream and jam. YUMMMM!!! It was so worth it. I'll be doing that again for sure.

Then I came home to study study some more.... and we all went to our favorite pub the Four Candles for dinner. Its a nice pub, and they are really cheap so its always packed lunch and dinner. Then more studying...AHHH im even tired of typing it. So woke up for class today, Wedneday, and turned in another paper then came home and wrote the last one in 4 hours. Now I'm done with tutorial papers and only one more while I'm here then a research paper at home. Not so bad. I survived.

Except, we may not survive tonight. Tonight we are taking the train at 10 pm to go to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Tomororw is the longest day of the year, and of course the pagans all go out to Stonehenge. So we thought its something that we might want to do. I think sunrise at 4:52 am tomorrow will be pretty in England. Sooo
It'll be a long interesting night filled with hippies, pagans, and druids. Yay!

Trinity library. They literally move in for awhile

The quad at Christ Church

Harry Potter Dining Hall

 I loved this library!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Stopping to smell the English roses

June 10-14

1. I'm never leaving here
2. This week has been so Oxfordian

Monday night we finally got to go as a group to formal dinner at New College. Now for them this is an every night affair. Its so great, because you get a 3 course meal with wine for about 3 pounds which is so cheap. But we had a nice one planned for all of the WISC people so we could all go together. Unfortunately that night it was pouring rain so I didnt bring my robes. I know mom and dad are sad that I dont have the pictures in my robes, but I'll wear them again next week. Anyways, we got there and its the gorgeous dining hall, but at night its all stained glass and the tables are lit with lamps so its like a fancy restaurant. There's bread and wine at all the tables and then they bring the salad. The salad was delicious tomato and mozarella salad, then they brought the main course of teryaki salmon with mixed veggies. Then for dessert we had a lemon tart which was very tasty. So all in all its totally worth getting dressed up in your dress robes every night to go to formal dinner. Theres all the long benches, but just like in harry potter the teachers and faculty sit up on the stage- like thing, and once they come in they bang the gong and everyone stands up. They kind of say grace? And then youre allowed to start eating. Its just very different than anything you would ever find at Mississippi State. But I love the formality of everything.

After that we all went to the cellar in my college, where theres a bar till 11. Everything for students is cheaper so we had all our teachers come down there and it was really a fun time. After that we went out to this club called the Bridge. Its our favorite place to go out to, and the dj is my neighbor in my apartments so we always wave. Its just a small town feeling here.

Tuesday we got to go to Stratford Upon Avon. We took a little bus ride through the country side and passed the castle of the Duke of Marlborough, and lots of fields with sheep. 40 million sheep and 52 million people here. Anyways we got there and had a little walking tour. Its a pretty small town, and all the little towns here are the same with a High street running through the middle with shops. We visited Shakespeare's home, his church and graveyard and all that. It was pretty. Then we went to dinner at a little Italian place which all the restaurants do like a pre theater menu. Then we went to Julius Ceasar at the theater in the round there. It was a really great performance. It was Julius Ceasar, but with an African Shakespeare company, so the props and costume were African. It was really interesting, and a very powerful performance. Those were probably some of the best actors I've seen in my entire life. Then we got back and I had to work on my tutorial paper which was due Wednesday. All day Wednesday I just worked and worked on writing.

I know I've talked about the tutorial system. But its still kicking my butt, and this is really hard for summer school. This week my paper was on the independence of the judiciary in Great Britain and separation of powers between the branches of government. Thats great and all but the only problem is that I need a legal writing class to do this! Oh well, so I went to my tutorial this morning. I'll say it went a little better than the last one, when he told me that paper could just count as practice since it just wasn't right. But this week he had graded it before I got there and he went through the whole grading scale. Everyone elses tutors realize they're Americans and not used to this, but no my tutor is grading me as hard as his actual students. Mind you, he teaches only 3rd year and grad students who have had experience in law. Anyways, so I got a 53 on my paper. Good news is that like exceptional for me. The grading scale is 1st degree, high second, low second, high and low third and fourth. He was so gracious to tell me that he almost never ever gives out firsts and rarely gives out high seconds. So an A here is a 70 and above. But unlike at home its not like you start with a 100 and mark down from there, no you dont even start with a 100. They think thats preposterous and no one makes 90's and such. So I should be happy with my low second. He was really nice and said that it was so much improved from last week and that its equivalent to the papers that his 3rd year students are writing. So i felt alot better this week. I could actually answer some of his questions today. Except he asks the hardest questions, and like I said I need to actually like live here and be a citizen half the time to understand what he's talking about. You know though, when you have a really really good teacher that you just want to be really smart and it inspires you to learn?  Well this trip is definitely doing that for me. I just want to like read every book about everything and actually take the time to learn. Its a completely different environment than at home. I learn a ton from sitting in a room with this guy for an hour, probably way more than I wouldve learned in a semester at home over the course of 4 weeks. Anyways this is why I love Oxford. Its very intellectual and lots of smart people to have really cool conversations with wherever you go.

After my tutorial I went down to Blackwells, which is my new favorite thing. Its the British version of Barnes and Noble but 10,000 times better. Its all these winding little rooms full of books, then across the street they have a music store and art and poster store. I really enjoyed that, then I went to this cute little shop Granola. Its like all organic and gluten free stuff, like tea and scones but they have great ciabatta paninis and weird salad stuff. I LOVE OXFORD! I want to stay forever! Then I got to sit at home and drink tea and read while its raining outside. If you know me you would know that theres probably nothing I'd rather be doing. Im so glad i came here and never want to leave. Sorry everyone in America!
 Anyways I'll upload pictures of stratford soon to fb! xx

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

June 6-9 PARIS


It's finally time to blog about Paris, since I just need another excuse to procrastinate some more today.

Last tuesday Melissa, Will, and I planned a trip to go to Paris the next morning. Probably not the best idea we've ever had to plan the night before. But we got a hotel and train tickets so we thought we were set. I left Will in charge of knowing where our hotel was and how to get there. So we wake up and make it to the train station for our 10 o'clock train to Paddington Station in London. Once there we can't quite figure out how to get to our international train. We looked like such tourist, like to get on the platforms you have to have tickets but ours wouldn't work. It was a hassle. But we took the underground over to St. Pancreas and Kings Cross. Platform 9 and 3/4! Not really but I wish, then we kinda had to run to make our international train because we had to get through security and customs. Although its way more lax than in an airport. So finally we arrive at Gare du Nord. None of us know French of course. So we buy our 3 day metro passes, and kinda just "hop on" a metro that Will thinks is going towards where we were staying. Now don't be fooled, the metro is quite simple and easy even in French but we had no idea actually where we were going. We had the address but that doesn't really help. So we like basically see that were leaving the city on the metro, so we are panicking and we find this sweet French family who doesn't speak any English. They completely saved us. The man talked to our conseirge and then drew out directions for us. He had to painstakingly make sure we knew where we were going with like the two words of English he knew. He kind of drew a map, and we kept it with us the rest of the time. So we get off with them and have to backtrack in the complete opposite direction. Finally after another 2 metro lines and a 20 minute bus ride we make it to our hotel about 10 at night. We check in and then want to explore the city a little bit cause our time is limited. So we take the bus back to the metro and then the metro to Charles de Gaulle and Champs-Elysees. On our bus ride back the Paris boys were all over me and Melissa. They wanted us to come to a party in the Latin Quarter with them. They were what you would expect from a French guy, very flattering, and blowing us kisses all that. I wanted to take a picture with them, but Melissa said no. We walked around and had dinner at a cute little cafe outside on the street. Our waiter there said my hair was beautiful and he wanted me to come to the bar after he got off work, at 4 in the morning! We laughed alot, but he drew us out a map on the back of the receipt, which I still have; and we told him we would meet him there after his shift. So we left, but Will wanted us to walk the way towards the bar so we wouldnt hurt this guys feelings. I think his name was Silvestri? Then we go back to the metro and realize "oh, of course that it stopped running at 12". Its about 1 by this time. We wander around, and feisty Casey comes out cause I rather don't like being lost in a foreign country and strange city. So I hail us a cab, but no one is willing to take us to our hotel which  is way outside the city limits. One man takes us to Saint Germain, which is 10 euros in the other direction. So I get the consierge on the phone again and I'm pretty mad by this point, because were on a dark street corner at 1 in the morning in Paris. We all thought we were going to be taken, and my second thought was of sleeping in the metro station with the homeless people and having to tour Paris disgusting the next day. But this sweet cab driver, who spoke decent English finally finds us a way back home. It was about 40 euros, so of course we planned to be at the hotel by like 10 pm the next night. We finally got home, and I don't remember the last time I slept so good.

Arc de Triomphe

Winged Victory at Samothrace, My favorite

Tuileries from the window of the Louvre

Notre Dame
Looking off the bridge of the Seine

We woke up thursday and made it back on all the public transportation to the Louvre. It was amazing, so crowded though. We spent 3 hours there, and saw everything I think. We did a really good job at seeing every room I think. We saw Mona Lisa, which everyone says they're disappointed when they see it. It wasn't because it was small, but because you can't actually enjoy it. There are millions of people like pushing and jostling you to get closer to the front. I wish I couldve sat there and actually looked at it. But really, every painting in there is amazing, so how can they pick that one to be the best? Even the ceilings and walls in the Louvre are complete works of art. So finally after 3 hours we left and it was pouring rain. We got pretty soaked, and my shoes were wet the rest of the day. But it finally stopped raining and we walked through the Tuileries gardens. They were gorgeous, and we actually got seats around the fountain because everyone was just coming back out after the rain. Then we walked all the way along the Seine, a long walk down to Notre Dame. We walked through this really cool flower market. When we finally got there it was packed. We finally got in, and its funny in France it's totally fine to take pictures in the Cathedral, everything is just a little different. Thats not acceptable in the churches in England because its a place of worship. It was very, very pretty though. The stained glass was my favorite out of the ones that we have seen here. After that I took advantage of the Paris food and got my nutella crepe. YUM.  We were pretty tired already by this point but we made it on the metro over to the Eiffel tower. The line was far too long to go up it, but we took some good pictures outside it. Then we went over to a little cafe on the street and had dinner with the Eiffel tower in the background. It was so nice, and the food was really good. Then we dragged ourselves back to Champs-Elysees, and saw all the nightlife there. All the rich Arabian people were shopping in the crazy expensive stores. We just went in H &M and probably tortured poor Will. Me and Melissa enjoyed it though. Then we were so tired and didn't want to miss the metro so we took it back to the hotel.

The next day we got a late start because we were so tired. But after a long metro ride we finally made it to Versailles. Will likes to say Ver-Say-lees, and he was sure that De Gaulle was pronounces De GWALE. I had to bang my head against the wall a little bit. I have the terrible habit also of walking way too fast just like dad. So every picture Melissa has I'm usually about 10 steps into the picture just walking in front of them. But back on track, Versailles was my favorite palace by far. Except the only problem is that it is overcrowded. People were like pushing and shoving, so by the time I was through I wanted to tackle people, and that made it not enjoyable. I'm glad I saw it though.  Then we had to rush back to Nord to catch our train. We were almost late, and we had to run down the platform like in a movie. It was kind of fun though. Then on the way back we all passed out. But I was sure I was finally getting to go to Hogwarts. When we were in the tunnel, someone's phone started ringing the Harry Potter theme song. I was like thinking the time has finally come! Its a magic train to Hogwarts. But alas, it wasnt and I'm back in Oxford as a seasoned world traveler. More like really good at getting lost but recovering. I have to say thanks to the Elliott genes for a wonderful sense of direction. Melissa and Will wouldnt have made it home without me, if Im allowed to brag.

Thats all for Paris, the weekend was just very chill and writing papers. Last night we had formal dinner at New College. It was also very Harry Potter. The teachers come in and sit on the dias, and all the lights are low and its by lamplight. It's a 3 course meal with wine for about 3 lbs. We all had a great time at dinner, then went over to the Trinity college bar with the WISC staff and met some other people. Very Oxfordian.

Monday, 11 June 2012

June 5-11: FOOD

Well, I haven't blogged in quite awhile. I'm so busy at this point that its hard to just sit down and actually write something other than a paper. But I can take a break because I just finished a paper for this morning, and then I'll have another for Thursday. It hasn't stopped raining in about two weeks. I think I'm getting  a little depressed from the rain after coming here from the beach. This blog today will be dedicated to food. There's been alot going on the last week so I have to break it up into a couple blogs.

So on the 5th, Melissa, Will, and I decided we wanted to cook dinner. Not just cook dinner though, we told the Michigan boys downstairs that we would cook them a good ole southern meal. Nothing like trying to impress boys to get me to cook. If you know me you know I don't really cook unless I can help it. And I am a pretty good cook, if I want to be. Thats the problem though, who wants to be when I live in a sorority house where they cook for me 3 meals a day. I could survive if I had to. So we decide to undertake this task of cooking for these boys. They were going to take alot of impressing. Two of them Vinny, and Steve like love to cook. Well Vinny does, and he's pretty picky about how good food is and he worked at a fancy restaurant so we had to impress him.

So Melissa and I decide we want to make shrimp and grits. I love shrimp and grits and I didn't really know what it was until I got to State, so that means it's gotta be pretty darn southern. All I could think of was the movie My Cousin Vinny when he's like "What is a grit?" Thats kinda how this was, the boys didn't know about grits. So I go to the grocery, and wander for awhile trying to find something to substitute for grits since thats not a thing here. But fortunately I looked it up online before I left that grits here is like semolina, which turned out to be cous cous really. (Side note: How do I live without my iphone??? Being in the grocery and not being able to call anyone or look up a recipe is torture. I actually have to think now. No phone, No tv, no internet outside my apartment) Anyways everything is in grams and liters etc etc. And I'm not the best at like just cooking by feel, so it was an interesting task. I made the grits, and they were delicious. Then I had Vinny make the bacon to go on top, then I sauteed the shrimp and fixed all that up. I did it all by myself! And it was so so so so good! They were all like whoa actually you can cook, we weren't expecting much since you kept saying you can't. Had to keep their expectations low.

Will made batter and fried some zuccini and mushrooms in the grease. We all had a grease bath, but the boys loved it. They said they would make it all when they got back home. Unfortunately there wasn't anything unhealthy like twinkies and snickers to fry, or okra. They didn't know what fried okra was either! Goodness. Anyways dinner turned out wonderful, and everyone felt terrible afterwards because we havent been eating anything that greasy or heavy in weeks.

The next day I left for Paris. That whole story is for the next blog, but while I was there I tried to eat as much french food as I could. And being cheap college students that isn't the way to do it. But I survived. We went to a Cafe de Deauville the first night. I had a yummy ham and cheese sandwich with a whole egg on the top, with a great salad, and our first french baguettes. They were sooo good. The next day I got some pastry with apples in it for breakfast. It was pretty good. Alas, there is no good coffee in Europe. Everywhere has espresso, like drip coffee doesn't exist. If you get some other type drink its just espresso mixed with milk. Not my favorite but it's Europe. For lunch I had a yummy hotdog baguette type thing in the Louvre. Then as an afternoon snack I had a crepe outside Notre Dame. Nutella crepes are so great! Even better than the marquesitas than I had last year in Mexico. I have a tendency to just love the nasty food off street carts in big cities. Probably not the healthiest, but its always yummy. That crepe was really really good. I think the whole week Will ate Mcdonalds 3 times, and Melissa ate nothing or meal bars. So I was the one always stopping for food. That night I got dessert on Champs-Elysees, a delicious chocolate banana tartlette. Then I woke up and had quiche lorraine. Best quiche I've ever had.

When we got home friday night, I had the Michigan boys make us dinner. Well they said they would do it anyways, but it was perfect after our long day of traveling. They made us a healthy meal of course. Homeade bruschetta, and pasta. Then special broccoli, and Vinny's mom's secret Salmon recipe. It was so good, and I'm going to get that recipe before I leave. It was a great meal, and they are so impressive that they cook all the time, and we benefit.

That's all the food I think! Today we ate in Trinity college. It's pretty good food, definitely not college cafeteria food. Everything is homeade. Tonight we're going to formal dinner in our robes at New College. Pictures to come. Also PARIS blog to come. Sorry to keep you waiting!

Monday, 4 June 2012

June 4

June 4

 Ashmolean Museum

 View from the top!
Last Friday we had a great class in the Ashmolean museum. It's a really nice museum with stuff dating all the way back to Egyptian and Ancient Greece and Rome. It also has a good bit of Anglo-Saxon weapons and china etc etc. Well we had class there because our teacher was a curator there for many years and that's where he did his research for his new book. We walked around for awhile, and then we went to the top of the museum to have low tea, since it was only 1 o'clock.
Had a good dinner that night at Pret A Manger, which is on like every street corner. They really are yummy though.
That night we all went together to the boy's house in Jericho. We just hung out with the big group, and interestingly enough the only movie on in Oxford was the Patriot??

Saturday we got to wake up and take a bus trip to Windsor! I'll say it again, I do not know why I'm not a princess and live in a castle like that. But we got there with the hoards of tourists just like us, yay. The castle is absolutely huge but they only let you see a couple parts of it. It's just like Disney world where you wait in line for a long time. We waited in line to see Queen Mary's dollhouse, which is pretty amazing. It's perfectly to scale and has real plumbing and everything. Then we saw the photo gallery, which for the queens jubilee had 60 photographs of her over the past 6 decades. Really fabulous. Then we made our way into the state departments where they would entertain or have formal ceremonies. It is unreal, I can't even describe everything there is to look at in there. Its so ornate that it's almost too overwhelming. It showed lots of rooms that King Charles had decorated. The guest bedroom that King Henry VIII had decorated for Napoleon III was beautiful. Then there's a room with the crest and shield of every Knight of the Garter. That was really cool. There are only two ladies in the Order of the Garter. Lady Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill's daughter. We left that part of the castle and went to St. George's Chapel. That was very nice, and you can see where the Queen's mother and great grandparents are buried along with Henry VIII. Windsor is a beautiful place to see, and it's the oldest castle in England. Oxford castle doesn't compare at all. I walked by it and all they have in it now is a krispy kreme. How modern of them.

Sunday we woke up and had a garden party at Trinity college. Except this garden party wasn't in much of a garden because it was pouring rain all day yesterday. Finally its living up to all the rumors. It was freezing and rainy all day and Melissa and I tromped around in our high heels. But we had a nice time at the garden party for a little while. Then we just regrouped all day, because sleeping here is definitely optional. I choose not to sleep, you only study abroad once! When I got hungry at midnight I sprinted on down to the Kebab stand at the end of my street. There's these Kebab stands all over. Lamb and chips. Melissa was so concerned that they get this lamb right off a spit just in the open air, but I must say that I have a weakness for greasy street food in foreign countries. Its the best way to taste local and city food. So my room smelled like an onion until this morning. Then we had class again today. After that we wandered and shopped around a little bit. Boots and Marks and Spencer are wonderful. Like a better Walgreens and Kroger. This afternoon I took a walk down to Port Meadow to take pictures and it was filled with swans. Beautiful.  Now its back to studying, with maybe some Jubileeing thrown in later!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

May 31

Well y'all, its happened. I went to my tutorial.

Today I had my first tutorial where I had actually written an essay. Some teachers do it differently, but mine is sent in the day before so he has time to read it and mark it up. Also, as a side note, this is not a paperless campus like Mississippi State. They love printing things here. Like 10 page paper? Both you and the teacher print it out and bring it. But anyways that's just a little fact for everyone. So some teachers have you bring your essay that day and you present it to them, but not mine.

My professor let me know today that he really only teaches grad law students and third year students. And I let him know that I could've read constantly for the past two weeks and not been ready for today. So he had my essay and he led me through it. The thing is he was super nice, like they said British people definitely aren't direct in telling you that you suck. But I think by the end I got the jist. He led me through all the things that I had gotten wrong, and I just felt two inches tall. Then I finally got my essay back and it was completely filled with red, along with the whole back of the paper filled in notes. So he wanted a real law paper, and I wrote a political science paper. Oh well! But here, essays are only for practice for your final exam. There's no grading really until the final. Good thing Jure told me that mine today was for practice and he will just grade the other ones after this. The point is that you're supposed to learn in your tutorial after you've prepared an essay. I must say I feel like this style of learning would really prepare you. There's no where to hide, its you and a teacher. And next time we meet he's going to make me read my essay out loud to him. I probably can't think of anything worse. There's nothing like being in a city where my college is actually older than the U.S. to inspire you to learn something.

Also, it really is like Harry Potter right now. Everyone is finishing finals, so they have to wear black tie and robes to take their finals. The girls wear black skirts white tops and ties, and boys black suits. Then the robes have pink carnations on the collar. It is really cool to walk around the 500 year old buildings with all these smart kids.

Last night we went out to this club called Lava. I have so many issues with British sense of whats fun. Number one, they love techo/Euro music. Its terrible really. Then if they're playing music its most likely at least 5-10 years behind whats new at home. But what was fun is when we met Alex, a British student. He proceeded to do an American accent, then I asked him to do a southern accent. He said, "Hey yall, lets go down to the farm on some tractors and ride cows." How stereotypical. But it was still very funny. Brilliant!

 My classroom

New College lawn

 Trinity lawn

After my tutorial today I finally went shopping. Zara and Topshop are my two new favorites. Everything here is just too cute. If not a little expensive. But I for sure looked like a local student because had to go to the grocery. So I was walking home with all my groceries and finally an old English  woman stopped and asked me for directions! I was like now I'm official. Even though I still didn't know how to tell her where to go. Oh well! Class tomorrow in the Ashmolean museum, thats going to be great. Cheers! (cheers is like saying thank you, just so much easier)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

May 29

May 29

Sunday started the real studying. I haven't blogged because there's not a ton to say. Now the work has started and I sit at my desk long hours every day. They weren't kidding when they said Oxford was hard. I think I could read for 2 weeks and not know enough to write this paper. My tutorial is in English Common Law and this week I have to write a 6 page paper on international vs. domestic law in Britain. This is actually really interesting, but it's very overwhelming because I'm not familiar with it. Instead of reading a law text and it referring to things like the Bill of Rights or The Constitution, it refers to EU laws or British Common Law. So I read for that all day on Sunday, then we went to Evensong at Trinity. That was an experience. There was the choir, the President, and two other people, then us. Embarrassing, we stuck out like sore thumbs. The preacher, or whatever they call it was a woman. I assume this church was an Episcopal church. It is a gorgeous church, and the choir was wonderful. The lady prayed for the Queen during service which I find so cute. She also prayed for "female bishops" so I was just a little confused. After church we went to the quad where the chapel provides sherry for everyone in service. Really, alcohol is served everywhere and for everything, even church. After that we all went to dinner at a really good Thai place right down the street from my apartment. Then back to studying for me.

Monday, we had class cancelled. I should've been working harder on my paper but it's hard to get started. Anyways we layed outside in the quad for awhile and watched the boys from Michigan play soccer. Then I decided to go on a run. The trail right behind my house leads up and down the waterways of the Thames. Right down the trail it opens into this big meadow called Port Meadow. Its a beautiful meadow with horses and cows just roaming around, and some paths going through it. I ran back the other way and found Abbey Road. Not the original of course, but if all else fails I can just pretend like thats the real thing.

We got really hungry after all that, and all I wanted was something greasy and American to eat. Its like a whole new world over here. I haven't been eating anything fried or soaked in grease. So it was time for a pizza. Good thing theres a good ole American Pizza hut up the road. Well we get there but its not so American after all. The waiter seats us (sit down restaurant), and he loves our accent. We of course tell him that we love his. He said "Oh I thought that was 10 years ago! There's not many Hugh Grants left." Anyways we dressed as American as possible in Nike shorts and t-shirts just cause we can. This was the only place we've been that had free refills, so we devoured diet coke. After stuffing ourselves, it only took 2 hours to get the check. They don't work on tips here so service is sometimes really terrible. We've decided to make it a weekly outing to Pizza hut and wear our big tshirts, just for some America time every now and then. I can't always pretend to be fashionable and not sloppy every day!

We went out to this club called the Bridge last night. It was pretty fun, but British people, and I think Europeans in general love the techno club mixes. It's terrible really, just give me a regular song to dance to. So everyone is terrible dancers, and they just hop around to crazy techno music. It was still pretty fun though. We had a fiasco and I think one of our group's girls purse was stolen, with her passport. Then we came back and hung out with the Michigan boys. For some reason even though we had class today I decided to play soccer in the courtyard till 4:45 this morning. We finally went inside because the sun was coming up. At 4:45! It's light for sooo long here.

Anyways, back to more studying for the next 48 hours till my meeting with my tutor thursday!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

May 26

May 26: Fail

Today is the worst... I didn't charge my camera and it just was completely dead the whole day. The best day yet possibly. Today was the "Summer Eights." Better known to you American commoners as crew races. Today we took a little walk down to Christ' Church, where lots of Harry Potter was filmed, to the Christ Church meadow. The meadow beside the college even has cows, so cute. But their meadow goes all the way down to the Thames. We all bought our sandwiches from the covered market and then took a blanket to the meadow to eat. EVERYONE was there. Families, young people, old people. The Alums wore their very fabulous blazers from their colleges.

First we just sat under the trees with all the families in the perfect weather. It was probably 75 and not a cloud in the sky, but the shade was lovely. Then we walked on down to the boat houses. Each college has a boat house along the river and this is where the races take place. Its all very exciting and I think today was equivalent to a regular football Saturday in Starkville. It was like laid back tailgating for the affluent. I can just picture Prince William and all the Harvard boys doing all this. Anyways we went down and found the Trinity boathouse and just walked on up. But seriously, I only met Americans. Still have yet to meet Brits my age. We watched the race from the roof of the boathouse. Here's what I figured out about Summer 8's:

1. Everyone starts a boat's length and a half apart.
2. You try to "bump" the boat ahead of you.
3. After you bump you both drop out of the race.
4. This means that number 4 could bump number 1, if 3 bumped 2. That would be really big.
5. If you bump the boat ahead, the next race you start ahead of them.

So this was fun, and a very excited British guy told us about it. Its pretty fun, and if a boat bumps every race for 4 days, then they get a blade (oar) with their names on it.  Also, they get to throw their coxon(sp?) in the river. It is a little slow for my liking, maybe like a baseball game. Its really more leisurely. I tried my hardest to get a picture with our team, but they wouldnt come out of the boathouse. Also, during these races its customary to drink your Pimms! Pimms o'clock everyone! I also decided that British people are definitely more laid back about sports. These guys in these boats looked like just a regular guy, not like a steroid shouldered American boy would be. It seems like they will let anyone play, and its more just for the fun of it. I kinda like that, but then again competition at home is so American.

After we got tired of that, (more like this boy Cameron was not concerned about sun burning, but the literal science of the UV rays coming through the atmosphere that might harm his body--ugh) we went to sit back in the shade. Then again the boys started talking about -I kid you not- hard sci-fi vs. soft sci-fi, quantum physics, and Star Trek. I was tired of this so on behalf of all the girls, I said, "I refuse to be living in the Big Bang Theory on this trip, and please talk about something that we enjoy and can actually add intelligent conversation to." The girls appreciated this.

So the girls left the boys to their physics and we went down to Topshop and Boots for a little shopping. Then to the grocery store, where I had to run down an aisle away from my tutor. He is super nice, but it's still weird seeing your teacher outside of class. We cooked some spaghetti, and thats about it! Tomorrow we've got Evensong at the chapel, and hardcore studying.

Friday, 25 May 2012

May 25: London

And y'all thought we had bad allergies in the south or at Mississippi State? I have never in my life been as allergy-ridden as I was today in London. The pollen was actually attacking people. Everyone around was sneezing. But other than that, LONDON WAS WONDERFUL! I'm telling you people I'm moving here and never coming back. It's amazing to me. We took the bus and drove to London. We drove all through Westminster the city, and Picadilly Circus, Whitehall, all the really nice shopping and then the really nice houses. Houses across from Hyde park cost approximately 75 million American Dollars, excuse me what? I need to be a royal. Today confirmed it. I understand why everyone is completely enthralled by Kate and William, and actually the Queen. It is all so beautiful, and I think that I wouldn't mind having a monarch. Who cares about democracy, give me the crown jewels!

Her Majesty's Grocery store

Big Ben and Parliament

 Changing of the guard

We took a walking tour around Parliament, and then down to Westminster Abbey. I just wish we had time to go in all those places. We walked through the Royal park to Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately you can't get that close easily, because of her Jubilee this saturday and then all the work that's going on. But we did get to see the band march out at the changing of the guard. That was worth it, all the soldiers in their bear hats. Then we made it over to Trafalgar Square. We met back with our cute little tour guide Brian Murray to go to the Churchill War Rooms. We passed Horse Guard, which is where they are holding the volleyball in the Olympics this summer. I got a picture with a soldier in his full uniform, and I must say he was quite nice. I told him thanks and I think he may have winked at me. They say some of them can get pretty mean, but he was almost smiling. Then I got to see 10 Downing Street, or what you can see from the blocked off street. They let little school kids in, but not really the public. So then we went through the Cabinet over to the War Rooms from WWII and where they held all their meetings. It was definitely cool, and the museum to Churchill was nice. I would say that if I only had an afternoon in London, that would not be my first choice to go see. Then we went back to the National Gallery, and saw some amazing art. Still looking for the Crown Jewels though.
The Olympics in 63 Days!

 Horse Guard, where volleyball will be played

Those boots gotta be hot

Well that's all for today, so ready to pass out. I have walked miles covered in pollen, and everyday here you just feel gross.